Although Major League Baseball made the decision not to allow fans into ballparks, the Phillies were able to retain a home field advantage….of sorts, thanks to the “Phandemic Krew.”
Earlier this spring, the Phillies and all of Major League Baseball was in the midst of its Spring Training when the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the season. The MLB scrambled for restart plans to save the 2020 season. There were early reports that they would follow the route of the NBA and NHL and set up bubble locations in their traditional Spring Training locations (Arizona & Florida). Instead, it was decided that games would be played in the home ballparks of teams between respective regional divisions (AL & NL East/Central/West) to reduce the amount of travel between series.’
That gave Oscar Alvarado the idea on a day off from work, to check if he could view the Phillies first exhibition game vs the Baltimore Orioles from outside the center field gate beyond Ashburn Alley.
“…I took a look, and said hey, if I brought a little step ladder, I’ll be able to see the infield.”
Alvarado, part time retail manager, and full time Phillies die hard, says that after initial push back from security, the team allowed him and the “Krew” to stay and cheer on the Phils.
“a Phillies executive spoke to me, he said, “we know what you guys are doing, the players love it, we love it, we can hear you guys loud and clear.”
Pat Sirado, a stadium employee misses her job and the atmosphere inside the ballpark, but the Phandemics has provided her and a coworker with a close substitute. Chris Civatte, a Temple Grad (Fox ’91) and diehard Philly sports fan, likens the atmosphere of the Phandemics to that of an actual ballgame.
“when you as a fan feel that you can have an outcome…on the game, it’s amazing.”
The Phandemics make sure to equip themselves with air horns, buckets, a train horn, cowbells and of course their own voices to ensure their home team can hear them loud and clear. However, the noise can serve as a nuisance to opposing teams. In a matchup with the Yankees earlier this season when their manager, Aaron Boone showed exception to the group, complaining to umps. During the broadcast, Phillies broadcasters noted that since the group was outside the stadium, there was nothing the umps could do. The Phils won that game, 5-4. The Phillies also recently swept out the New York Mets at home before embarking a long road trip.
The Phandemics have seen crowds of up to 50 for the Braves’ series. Oscar and the Krew have done their best to make sure everyone is safe during this pandemic by offering hand sanitizer, masks and even gloves for fans.
“COVID is real, I wouldn’t want anybody to catch it. So it’s important to have hand sanitizer and gloves, and it’s no problem to provide that to everyone.”
Alvarado says he expects bigger crowds later into the season, should the Phillies make a late season run for the pennant in October. Fenway may have the Monster, and Wrigley has the rooftop bleachers, but CBP’s unique design allows for Phillies fans to be able to watch the action live in person at a time where other ballparks are silent with the exception of piped in stadium sounds.
Philly sports fans are notorious for, and reminded (at nausea) of pelting snowballs at Santa, booing Donovan McNabb on draft night, and for their general raucous nature, but the loyalty Philly sports fans show towards their teams, even in a pandemic, can never be questioned.
For the full report package on the Phandemic Krew, click here.